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Vigils held across Northern Ireland in memory of murdered journalist

Vigils held across Northern Ireland in memory of murdered journalist

Northern Ireland

A series of vigils have been held in honor of a journalist murdered in Northern Ireland.

Lyra McKee, who was openly gay, was shot dead while observing a riot in Londonderry – commonly known as Derry – on Thursday (18 April).

Police have blamed dissident republicans for McKee’s murder. They’ve also released CCTV footage showing McKee and the suspected gunman.

The police have arrested two men, aged 18 and 19, in connection with the murder.

‘Her legacy will live on in the light that she’s left behind’

Hundreds of people attended a vigil at the scene of McKee’s murder in Derry on Friday (19 April).

McKee’s partner, Sara Canning, spoke at the vigil.

In an emotional speech, Canning said McKee’s murder left her ‘without the love of my life,’ and Northern Ireland’s LGBTI community ‘without a tireless advocate and activist’.

‘Our hopes and dreams, her amazing potential was snuffed out by a single barbaric act,’ Canning added.

‘This cannot stand. Lyra’s death must not be in vain because her life was a shining light in everyone else’s life. Her legacy will live on in the light that she’s left behind.’

Numerous public figures have also expressed their sadness over McKee’s murder.

Ireland’s Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, British Prime Minister Theresa May, and former US president Bill Clinton have expressed their condolences.

‘At this stage we believe her murder was carried out by a violent dissident republican’

Police said a group known as the New IRA ‘are likely to be the ones behind this’.

CCTV footage and mobile phone footage appear to show a masked gunman crouching down and opening fire with a handgun at about 11pm.

‘A single gunman fired shots in a residential area of the city and as a result wounded Ms McKee. Officers quickly administered first aid before transporting her in the back of a landrover to hospital,’ said Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton.

‘Tragically she died from her injuries. At this stage we believe her murder was carried out by a violent dissident republican.’

The 29-year-old had already begun building up a celebrated career in jounalism.

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) described McKee as ‘one of the most promising journalists’ in Northern Ireland. Forbes also named McKee in its 2016 30 under 30 list.